Murphy v. Ymca, No. 2D07-1324.

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Writing for the CourtCanady
Citation974 So.2d 565
PartiesElizabeth Anne MURPHY, Appellant, v. YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF LAKE WALES, INC., a Florida nonprofit corporation, Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 2D07-1324.
Decision Date15 February 2008
974 So.2d 565
Elizabeth Anne MURPHY, Appellant,
v.
YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF LAKE WALES, INC., a Florida nonprofit corporation, Appellee.
No. 2D07-1324.
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District.
February 15, 2008.

[974 So.2d 566]

Frank J. McKeown, Jr., of Law Offices of Frank J. McKeown, Jr., P.A., West Palm Beach, and Harold E. Wolfe, Jr., of Harold E. Wolfe, Jr., P.A., West Palm Beach, for Appellant.

Mark D. Tinker of Fowler White Boggs Banker P.A., St. Petersburg, for Appellee.

CANADY, Judge.


Elizabeth Anne Murphy, the plaintiff in a personal injury action, appeals a final summary judgment entered in favor of the defendant, Young Men's Christian Association of Lake Wales, Inc. (YMCA). The YMCA obtained summary judgment against Murphy on the basis that upon joining the YMCA she had signed an exculpatory clause which released the YMCA from liability for its negligence. We reverse the final summary judgment because the exculpatory clause did not clearly and unequivocally release the YMCA from liability.

I. Background

Murphy joined the YMCA in 2000. At that time, she signed a membership application, which includes the following waiver provision:

I am an adult over 18 years of age and wish to participate in Lake Wales Family YMCA activities. In addition I give my children permission to participate in Lake Wales Family YMCA activities. I understand that even when every reasonable precaution is taken, accidents can sometimes still happen. Therefore, in exchange for the YMCA allowing me to participate in YMCA activities, I understand and expressly acknowledge that I release the Lake Wales Family YMCA and its staff members from all liability for any injury, loss or damage connected in any way whatsoever to my (or my children's) participation in YMCA activities, whether on or off the YMCA's premises. I understand that this release includes any claims based on negligence, action or inaction of the Lake Wales Family YMCA, its staff, directors, members and guests. I have read and am voluntarily signing this authorization and release.

After sustaining personal injuries while using exercise equipment at the YMCA's exercise facility, Murphy filed a complaint against the YMCA, alleging that the YMCA was negligent in failing to maintain,

974 So.2d 567

inspect, and repair its exercise equipment. She alleged that she "suffered a severe and permanent injury" and "incurred medical expenses for hospitalization, surgery, nursing care and physical therapy in excess of $200,000.00 and will continue to incur such expenses in the future."

II. Motion for Summary Judgment

The YMCA filed a motion for summary judgment, claiming that the waiver signed by Murphy in the membership application clearly and unequivocally released the YMCA from liability arising out of its negligent acts and that the waiver barred Murphy's negligence cause of action.

At the hearing on the motion for summary judgment, Murphy argued that exculpatory clauses are disfavored and must be clear and unequivocal. The trial court expressed some concern over the "reasonable precaution" language in the waiver: "I kind of think it is a little misleading when it reads: `I understand that even when every reasonable precaution is taken, accidents can sometimes [still] happen.'" Murphy then pointed the trial court to Goyings v. Jack & Ruth Eckerd Foundation, 403 So.2d 1144 (Fla. 2d DCA 1981), a case involving a waiver that was in some respects similar to the waiver obtained by the YMCA here.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court reserved ruling on the motion for summary judgment. Subsequently, the court entered an order granting the motion, stating that "[w]ith some concern, the Court finds the Waiver is clear and unequivocal." The trial court noted its concern expressed at the hearing and stated that the inclusion of the "reasonable precaution" language "suggests a member may be accidentally injured. The waiver goes on to...

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  • Bank of Am., N. A. v. Fed. Deposit Ins. Corp., Civil Action No. 10–CV–1681 (BJR).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • December 10, 2012
    ...strictly construed against the party claiming to be relieved from liability. Murphy v. Young Men's Christian Ass'n of Lake Wales, Inc., 974 So.2d 565, 567–68 (Fla.Dist.Ct.App.2008); see also, Hackett v. Grand Seas Resort Owner's Ass'n Inc., 93 So.3d 378, 380 (Fla.Dist.Ct.App.2012) (noting t......
  • Bank of Am., N.A. v. Fed. Deposit Ins. Corp., Civil Action No. 10-CV-1681 (BJR)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • December 10, 2012
    ...strictly construed against the party claiming to be relieved from liability. Murphy v. Young Men's Christian Ass'n of Lake Wales, Inc., 974 So. 2d 565, 567-68 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2008); see also, Hackett v. Grand Seas Resort Owner's Ass'n Inc., 93 So. 3d 378, 380 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2012)......
  • Cooper v. Meridian Yachts, Ltd., No. 08-13830.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • July 21, 2009
    ...courts where the intention is made clear and unequivocal." Id.; see also Murphy v. Young Men's Christian Ass'n of Lake Wales, Inc., 974 So.2d 565, 568 (Fla.Dist.Ct.App.2008) ("`[Exculpatory] clauses are enforceable only where and to the extent that the intention to be relieved was made clea......
  • Ucf Athletics Ass'n Inc. v. Plancher, No. 5D11–2710.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • September 6, 2013
    ...followed to the fullest.” The second district reached a similar conclusion in Murphy v. Young Men's Christian Ass'n of Lake Wales, Inc., 974 So.2d 565 (Fla. 2d DCA 2008). In Murphy, the plaintiff was injured while using exercise equipment at the YMCA's exercise facility. 974 So.2d at 566. S......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
14 cases
  • Bank of Am., N. A. v. Fed. Deposit Ins. Corp., Civil Action No. 10–CV–1681 (BJR).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • December 10, 2012
    ...strictly construed against the party claiming to be relieved from liability. Murphy v. Young Men's Christian Ass'n of Lake Wales, Inc., 974 So.2d 565, 567–68 (Fla.Dist.Ct.App.2008); see also, Hackett v. Grand Seas Resort Owner's Ass'n Inc., 93 So.3d 378, 380 (Fla.Dist.Ct.App.2012) (noting t......
  • Bank of Am., N.A. v. Fed. Deposit Ins. Corp., Civil Action No. 10-CV-1681 (BJR)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • December 10, 2012
    ...strictly construed against the party claiming to be relieved from liability. Murphy v. Young Men's Christian Ass'n of Lake Wales, Inc., 974 So. 2d 565, 567-68 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2008); see also, Hackett v. Grand Seas Resort Owner's Ass'n Inc., 93 So. 3d 378, 380 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2012)......
  • Cooper v. Meridian Yachts, Ltd., No. 08-13830.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • July 21, 2009
    ...courts where the intention is made clear and unequivocal." Id.; see also Murphy v. Young Men's Christian Ass'n of Lake Wales, Inc., 974 So.2d 565, 568 (Fla.Dist.Ct.App.2008) ("`[Exculpatory] clauses are enforceable only where and to the extent that the intention to be relieved was made clea......
  • Ucf Athletics Ass'n Inc. v. Plancher, No. 5D11–2710.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • September 6, 2013
    ...followed to the fullest.” The second district reached a similar conclusion in Murphy v. Young Men's Christian Ass'n of Lake Wales, Inc., 974 So.2d 565 (Fla. 2d DCA 2008). In Murphy, the plaintiff was injured while using exercise equipment at the YMCA's exercise facility. 974 So.2d at 566. S......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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